Monthly Archives: May 2014

Project Targets

This lesson focuses on setting Project Targets, which seems to be

apropos considering it’s almost the start of a new month and the summer. If you’re like many writers, you probably have a set writing routine with a fixed number of words to write daily, but what if you need to know how close you are to completing your project or how many words you’ve subtracted during a revision process?

Scrivener provides a chockfull of features that allows you to set targets and monitor your progress. So let’s take a look at working with Project Targets. Whether you’re working on an article that can’t be more than 700 words or whether you’ve embarked on writing a novel that’s 100,000 words, project targets can help keep you on track, but also provide a visual feedback or incentive.

Let’s first define a few terms that might be obvious. A draft target is theword count goal for the entire project. A session target is for that current writing session, in other words the chapter/scene you’re working on. Sessions, by default, reset at midnight, but Scrivener provides you with the option to reset it wherein a session can last more than one day. A few things to note: project targets only work in the draft section. Scrivener counts only those words toward your target, and if you’re importing text into the Binder it doesn’t increase the word count within the session. Conversely, if you remove text files it doesn’t decrease the word count, BUT it does affect it the draft total.

To set a draft or session target, go to Project->Show Project Targets (Windows users, Project->Project Targets). A window will open and you’ll see that it’s divided in two sections, for this example, I have it as A Pig Named Moe (yes, I abandoned Under the Hazelnut Tree) and Session Target:

Project Targets

Project Targets

The bars below are progress meters that will fill in with color as youprogress towards that word count goal (red for nil words and green for completing the goal).

To set your project goal follow these steps:

1. Click the goal number to activate your text box. Type in the number.(Mac users, Edit will change to Apply).

2. From the Words drop down menu in the Project Draft Target, you can decide whether you want Scrivener to count words, characters, or pages (Page count not offered in the Windows version).

3. To view your progress, open the Targets Project window. You can also read just the target session at any time by following the steps from above.

Scrivener offers options that allows you to modify the way the program calculates progress the manuscript and session target. Click on Options, and the Project Targets Option window opens. Note: These are not yet offered in the Windows version.

Project Target Options

Project Target Options


The first section focuses on Draft targets and what to include when you’re compiling and creating a deadline date. The rest is session targets. Let’s take a look at one-by-one.

• Count Documents in Compile Only: If this option is selected only words added to the text files that are marked to Include in Compile count toward target progress.

• Target Applies to Current Compile Group Only: If this option is checked off, only those text files currently listed in the Compile window’s Contents pane count toward the goal. (We’ll get in more detail when we discuss Compile and what this all means.)

• Deadline: You can set a deadline for your project, which can be used to calculate your daily writing goals.

• Reset Session Count: Click on this drop down menu and you have the option to reset it back to zero on project close, next day when the session is opened, the default at midnight or never to automatically reset counts.

• Count Text Written Anywhere in the Project: This could be notes written document notes or in the research folder. But words written outside the draft folder don’t count toward the overall manuscript target progress.

• Allow Negatives: Selecting this allows the session to go below zero.If you unselect it, the count doesn’t go negative even if you deleted more words than you added.

• Automatically Calculate from Draft Deadline: This calculates the deadline date to determine the daily word count target to meet the deadline.

• Writing Days: You can select which days you’d like to write so that Scrivener can calculate your daily session target.

• Allow Writing on Day of Deadline: If this isn’t selected, Scrivener doesn’t include it in its calculations.

• Show Target Notification: Mac only Notification that applies to both target types. You can download Growl to your computer and it notifies you when you’ve reached your goal or fall below a target.

Once I’ve made my selections, my targets look like this:

Project Target with Deadline

Project Target with Deadline

Project Statistics

Why are writers so interested in statistics? Where does this need come in which we need to announce that we wrote X words, or X pages (print or paperback). Is it to validate that we sit around in our pajamas and robes and that we actually work?

If you’re like me and just curiose to know how much you’ve produced since you started writing your Great American novel, Scrivener provides Project Statistics. These will prove to those who doubt you’re actually working and you’ve completed 12 grueling pages of high drama and emotion for the day. So take that, naysayers, who spend most of their days writing tweets and Facebook updates about cats.

Projects Statistics provide word, character, and page counts for the material in the Draft folder. These figures are based on the compile settings (we’ll cover Compile soon enough). Essentially, the Compile function, runs silently in the background and calculates the numbers in your masterpiece. But if you want to know how many pages you have for an individual scene just select a scene in the Binder and choose Project->Project Statistics. Below are my project statisitcs for my current WIP.

Project Statistics

Project Statistics

The Pages (Paperback) count is calculated in the following manner:

Pages=Total Characters ÷(Words per page x Characters per Word). Words per page value can be changed in the Options section of the Project Statistics. The Pages (Printed) count is calculated based on your compile settings. If you have a large project, this can take a minute or so because Compile has run in the background. Very large projects of over 100K words don’t compile every time you open Project Statistics and aren’t updated unless you click the Update Print Counts that appears in large projects (in the Project I write these classes, called the File Cabinet, it includes every single writing project that I’m currently working on. The Update Print Counts appears in the Project Statistics window).

If you want to modify how your statistics are calculated go to Project->Project Statistics and click options.

Project Statistics Options

Project Statistics Options

Here’s what each option does:

• Count Current Compile Group Only: If this is selected, the statistics are calculated based on the documents listed in the Contents pane of the Compile Window.

• Count Footnotes: included them in the word and character count.

• Count All Documents: Counts all selected documents regardless of their Include in Compile status

• Count Only Documents Marked for Inclusion: Counts thedocuments that you’ve selected in the Include in Compile option (in the General Meta-Data pane in the Inspector for example).

• Count Only Document Not Marked for Inclusion: Counts only documents that you didn’t select Include for Compile.

• Exclude Comments and Annotations: These are counted in the manuscript and document word counts, but you can exclude them from the selected document count.

• Exclude Footnotes: If this is selected, footnotes won’t be counted in the selected document.

• Count Subdocuments: Select this option if you want Scrivener to calculate selection statistics for all the subdocuments.

• Page count option allows you to set how many words per page you want to be calculated for paperback pages.

Once you’ve made your changes hit OK, and reopen the Project Statistics window to see your changes. You’ll see a gear wheel running and once that stops, you’ll the results of your changes.

Text Statistics to View Word Frequency

There are many web tools like Grammerly and Auto-Crit that are subscriber-based programs that will help you edit your manuscript by finding repeated words, passive voice, cliches, gerunds and so on. These are nice additions to have in your toolbox, but Scrivener has a built-inText statistics feature that can help you catch frequently used words. To review your word frequency, follow these steps:

1. Select the chapter/scene in the Binder

2. Go to Project->Text Statistics. A window will open

3. To view the word frequency, click on the expansion arrow to the left of Word frequency. You’ll see the words with the number of times used and a histogram.

4. Click on the column that says count and it will sort in ascending order and show the most used words. Pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions typically appear first.

5. Click again for descending order

6. Hit OK to exit.

Text Statistics

Text Statistics

Composition Mode

Let’s be honest, Scrivener has a lot going on between the Binder and the Inspector that sometimes it can be distracting when you simply just want to write. Although we know how to hide both the Binder and the Inspector, the designers at Literature and Latte also had in mind to add another great feature that blocks out distractions, and that’s Composition or Full Screen (In Windows) mode.

The beauty of Composition mode is that all the other features like the Binder and the Inspector are still accessible. That means you don’t need to switch back and forth between screens. And if you like playing around with the look of your distraction-free screen, you can customize it to look exactly the way you want it.

Let’s get cover the basics: Select a text file or create a new one from the Binder. Go to View->Enter Composition Mode, or just hit the button on the toolbar that has two arrows set diagonally and pointing in opposite directions. This is what Compositon mode it looks like:

Composition Mode

Composition Mode

The default background is black. The paper color is a very light gray color, and the text is black. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll find the control strip bar. This hides itself so you can have 100% zero distraction. Let’s take a closer look at it and see what it can do:

Control Strip Bar

Control Strip Bar

First off, on the extreme left, you’ll see Text Scale. This means that you can make the print as small or as big as you want it. I like it at 150 percent. Next is the Paper Position, which you can shift to the left, the right, or keep it at it’s default center position. If you don’t want to see any of the black background, you can widen the page or conversely narrow it by using the Paper Width feature. I keep it at the default, which is the standard paper width. Here’s a neat trick: if you want to change the height of the paper, hit the option key (ALT Key in Windows) and Paper Width switches over to Paper Height. Using the slider, you can adjust it to whatever height (or width) you like.

Now we get into the nitty gritty functions that are included in the Inspector like Keywords. Click on the icon, and a small (and adjustable) panel appears. You can add your keywords and move the panel wherever you like on the screen if you wish to keep it open.

Compostion Mode with Open Keywords Panel

Compostion Mode with Open Keywords Panel

There’s also the option to open the Inspector. When you click on that, another panel will open (again, adjustable and moveable) An aside: if you do adjust the size and move it to a different spot on the screen and later close it, Scrivener remembers the settings the next time you open it. You’ll see in this panel, the drop down menus that include all the options from the Inspector.

With Inspector Panel Open

With Inspector Panel Open

If you want to look at another document, you don’t have to switch back to the screen that shows the Binder. Just click on the Go To icon and you can select a different document.

Using Go To Function

Using Go To Function

With Words/Character Count, you won’t be left in the dark of how much (or little) you’ve written. You’ll always know whether you reached your daily goal or not. Lastly, there’s Background Fade. Here you can control the transparency of the background by moving the slider. To exit Composition mode, you can either hit the ESC key or the two arrow button on the extreme right.

Now for some fun stuff. If you want to change the color of the background, the paper and text type, go to Preferences->Compose (Windows go to Tools->Options->Appearance. Select in the pane that says Colors “Full Screen” hit the expansion button and you’ll the different options). In the area that’s labled Customizable Colors, you’ll see listed Background. Select that and click the color box underneath Background to activate it. A color wheel window will open. Select the color you’d like to set your background. Follow the same steps, for changing the color of your paper and type color—with text color make sure to select the box that says override color (the Windows version doesn’t have this box to click). This what my screen looks like after I made my changes:

With different background, paper and text colors.

With different background, paper and text colors.

If you rather have an image that inspires you instead of selecting a different color, select choose texture. Your directory will open and from there you can select a photo that will fire up the muse. I selected this background:

With Background Image

With Background Image.

A few things to note: If you want to hide the scroll bar, go to Preferences and in the area that says Scroller Type, click on the expansion arrows and select No Scroller (Windows users, you don’t have this option yet).


Scrivenings Mode

Let’s say that you want to see your entire manuscript in the Editor so you can determine which points in your novel need revising, and how well it flows. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Scrivener has an ingenious function called Scrivenings mode that’s let’s you see the whole kit and kaboodle in the Editor.

To access Scrivenings mode first select the container in the Binder, or you can select multiple text files in the Binder. You can access either from the toolbar in the grouped View Mode icons or View->Scrivenings. You’ll see that when you select numerous text files or a container that holds numerous files, “Document” switches to Scrivenings.

In the Editor, the files appear as one long, continuous document. The Header bar displays the Name followed by Composite. For this example, I want to see the entire manuscript. So the Header is title Julius followed  by Composite —Part 1. When I scroll down, I’ll see Part 2 and further down I’ll see Part 3. As you move your curser through the document, the Header will reflect the chapter or scene you’re in.

Each section is divided by divider bars (dashed lines in Windows). If you find the divider bars distracting they can be turned off in Preferences->Formatting (This is a Mac feature only). At the bottom of the Window check Separate Scrivenings with Single Line Breaks, which is a small bracket that marks the end of the document and the beginning of the next one. Below are images with the bars and with the single line breaks.

Scrivenings with Bars Separating Documents

Scrivenings with Bars Separating Documents

Scrivenings with Separate Line Breaks

Scrivenings with Separate Line Breaks

You’ll note that the footer shows my word count (The first numberindicates the actual words written and the second number denotes the original goal.) If you want to see how it actually looks on a page and how many pages you have, go to View->Show Page View. (Sorry, Windows users, you don’t have this feature yet).

Scrivenings in Page View

Scrivenings in Page View

If you’re revising and want to figure out where in the book you met a certain word count, select your text at the very beginning of the document and keep scrolling. You’ll notice as your selecting the text, the footer is counting the selected passages. Once you reach that specific word count, stop and leave the cursor in that section. You’ll see the header change and how far you’re in the book. For example, I was curious how far the reader is in the book when he reaches ten thousand words. It turns out it’s thirty-five pages or Chapter Seven.

I’ll be very upfront, but I never really understood the function of Scrivenings mode until I was asked a question about it. After playing around with it, I finally understood the reason for the feature, and now it’s one I’ll be using often.



The Corkboard

At some point I’ll get to the second part of formatting, but once again, but I think learning how to use the corkboard is more important.

If you love to storyboard then you’ll find Scrivener’s Corkboard the ideal tool to plot your story.  You can work with index cards right from the get go, and go directly to the Corkboard and start plotting!

To add index cards to the Corkboard, hit the plus sign at the footer of the page, and type in your notes or synopsis directly onto the card. If you need more space and just want to see the Corkboard, hide the Binder and Inspector.

I tend to work straight from the Editor, so for this lesson, I’ve created six text files and headers indicating what the scenes are about and I’ve included synopses for each text file.

My scenes are in the folder titled Part One. I selected that folder and to access the corkboard, I can either go to View->Corkboard or select it from the toolbar. This is what my corkboard currently looks like:

The Corkboard with Status Stamps

The Corkboard with Status Stamps

One of the key features of the Corkboard is that you’re able to reorder your index cards. If you need to switch scenes two and three, you can change their order and you’ll see that reflected in the Binder. NOTE: If you selected a multiple text files as opposed to a container (folder), the order of the cards can’t be moved. 

Let’s take a look at the Corkboard’s footer, you’ll see that on the left-hand side, it’s nearly identical to the Binder’s footer. It includes:

1. New Text

2. New Folder

3. Action/Options Menu


4. Double arrows that indicate that it opens the selected card in another editor.

On the extreme right-hand side, you’ll notice three icons (this is for the Mac). The first one is the Linear Corkboard that keeps the cards arranged in binder order in a grid (in Windows this is the standard feature). The second one is the Free-Form Corkboard (available only on the Mac), and the last icon is the options available. NOTE: In the Windows version, you’ll only have the Options icon. For the purpose of this tutorial, I will focus on the Linear Corkboard because both versions have this feature.

Corkboard Options allows you to size the cards, how far apart you want the cards to be, how many you want across, and whether you want keyboard chips, or use a smaller font.

Corkboard options

Corkboard options

If you want your cards to include color-coded keyword chips, say for example, point-of-view (or whatever you renamed Label in the General section of the Inspector), you can select that by going to the Inspector and selecting your POV  from the drop-down menu in the General area (this will show up as a  a colored push pin or a stamp).

If you don’t see a push pin or the colored corner chip, go to View->Corkboard Options->Show Label Pins. If you only see a colored label chip in the corner and want the push pin, go to Preferences->Corkboard-> Index Card Theme and select either the index card that’s either blue and black or red and blue. These themes allow for push pins. The rounded theme offers the corner colored label chip.

Another nifty feature is that you can change the color of the cards to reflect the label color. To have pretty tinted index cards go to View->Use Label Color in (or whatever you named it)->Index Cards. You’ll notice that it’s reflected in the Synopsis in the Inspector.

Tinted Index Cards

Tinted Index Cards

You can also have keyword colored chips. So let’s take a slight detour and learn how to create keywords.  First, select your index card or text file. When you select the card, you’ll see a blue border appear around the card. That designates card as active. Next, open the Inspector and at the footer, select the Key icon and the Corkboard with the selected card and the document pane will look like this:

Selected Card with Keywords Pane opened in Inspector.

Selected Card with Keywords Pane opened in Inspector.

In the Keyword pane, hit the plus sign and start adding keywords for that scene. If the keyword chips are not appearing, go to View->Corkboard Options->Show Keyword Colors.  Another option to add Keywords to your cards is if you already have added a series of Keywords, go to the toolbar, click on the Keywords icon. A window will open and from that list you drag the Keyword to the card.

You probably have noticed that I have a status stamps on the Index cards, to have these appear on yours go to View->Corkboard Options->Show Status Stamps.  You can change how opaque the stamp looks by going to Preferences->Corkboard (Window users, Tools->Options->Corkboard-Appearance->Status Stamp Opacity). You’ll see a sliding button that can be slid from low to high.

The Mac version of Scrivener has the option to print out your cards. To print, follow these steps:

1. File->Page Setup.

2. Go to Settings and click on the arrows, select Scrivener.

3. A new window will open with margin settings click on Options.

4. Another window will open with a menu of what can be printed. Select Index cards. This will have a number of options that you can fiddle with.

5. After you’ve made your selections.Click OK to close the the Print Options window.

6. Click OK to close the Page Setup window.

7. Select from the Binder the files or container (folder) for which you want to print index cards.

8. Choose File->Print Current Document

9. Make sure you have the right settings and printer. Click Print.

For Windows, the process is shorter:

1. In the Corkboard, go to File->Page Setup->Size->Scroll down to Index Card. My margins are set to .332 for both the left and top; .25 for the right and bottom. You don’t need to reset them (at least I didn’t. It printed out fine). Keep it as Portrait. Hit OK.

2. Just to make sure that you printing index cards, go to Print Preview. 

3. Print Current Document.